In this feature, we shall attempt at portraying how a couple of very intelligent men and women, individually and collectively through organisations, have over the years, persistently, sophisticatedly and subtly manipulated mankind. Perhaps they may be seen, in certain quarters and by some individuals, as having good intentions. But the negation of God is the root of mankind’s problem
It is true that some people can be deceived some of the time, and some deceived all of the time; but not all the people can be deceived all of the time.
Men and women of this era, as in similar epochs in the past, have, in the immortal words of St. Paul “changed the truth of God into a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. That is why God has abandoned them to degrading passions: why their women have turned from natural intercourse to unnatural practices and why their men folk have given up natural intercourse to be consumed with passion for each other, men doing shameless things with men and getting an appropriate reward for their passion. In other words, since they refused to see it was rational to acknowledge God, God has left them to their own irrational ideas and to their monstrous behaviour. And so they are steeped in all sorts of depravity, rottenness, greed and malice, and addicted to envy, murder, wrangling, treachery and spite. Libellers, slanderers, enemies of God, rude, arrogant and boastful, enterprising in sin, rebellious to parents, without brains, honour, love or pity” (Romans 1: 25-31).
EVIL AS CULTURE
Ndi Igbo nékwu si: ihe ojoo gbaafo, ya wuru omenala. Rendered in poor English transliteration it reads: when an evil is practised for a year, it becomes part of the people’s culture.
The truth about that enigmatic Igbo aphorism compounds the modus operandi of the devil described variously as “the most subtle” ( Genesis 3:1); “the evil one”( Mathew 5: 37); ( John 17:15); “the father of lies”(John 8:44).
The devil does not confront frontally. Persistent suggestibility often couched in apparent innocuousness is a well-known method of the evil one. From the classic case of the fall of our first parents to the present day, the devil has not relented in its avowed aim to bring humanity to eternal damnation.
“God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
Because the devil is a spirit, it principally uses human beings and organisations to work even to the extent that, perhaps, at times, the individuals and or organisations rarely know that they are, indeed, agents of satanic manipulation.
Sententiously, culture is defined as the totality of a people’s way of life. Who determines culture? Man. A world culture for a considerable time has been underway being assiduously determined by the humanist revolution which is engineered mostly by the West with America leading. Most of the world’s richest men and women are American. Money invests a man with great power. Once a man or woman becomes a philanthropist, the lives of thousands of other men and women depend very much on the course that the philanthropist pursues. Some philanthropists like Clarence Gamble, who founded The Pathfinder Fund to propagate abortion throughout the world, have adopted a messianic role and used all their millions in the cause of population control and the creed of humanism. According to the American journal, The Educator, John Davidson Rockefeller in 1952 invited the leaders in the field of Demography, Planned Parenthood, Social Science, Health and Psychology to Williamsburg Virginia U.S.A.
In the course of their deliberation, members agreed to form what Rockefeller called ‘The Population Council’. Rockefeller became the first President. The Council was established to be a coordinating and catalytic agent in the area of population control. The Population Council quickly won support from the Andrew Carnegie and Ford Foundations, the Commonwealth and Community Funds, the Mott Trust, the Mellons and many other millionaires. One of its premier acts was to establish University “Think Tanks” devoted to population studies. Consequently, the Population Council became a major force in American politics and a veritable powerful political lobby, which was exemplified in the Council’s pressure on the American Congress to ensure the passing of a Family Planning Service and Population Research Act in 1970 with funding to the tune of 387 million dollars.
The National Academy of Science, assisted by the Population Council released a report on population explosion. In order to promote support for public aid to family planning, and to lobby, a Population Crisis Committee was formed. The consequence was the Act of Congress already cited. Perhaps, we can now clearly perceive how manipulation works; how money can be effectively used to generate more money for whatever cause a philanthropist may have in mind. Andrew Carnegie, in his book titled Triumphant Democracy, revealed that his goal was to unite America with Great Britain as a step towards achieving a World Government. And Frederick T. Gates, a one-time Chairman of the Tax Exempt General Education Board, a Rockefeller Foundation established in 1902, “intimated that one world government controlled by an elitist clique would facilitate elimination of economic competition to the products produced and sold by the large corporations.”
As time went on, all kinds of theologies emerged: the Death of God theologies, the New Morality and Ecumenism. As pressures were mounting chiefly through the print and electronic media and the United Nations, His Holiness Pope Paul VI fired his Humanae Vitae encyclical. The most important thing that Pope Paul VI was saying in that encyclical letter was that there is a God and that Man is not that God, and that it is within those basic terms of reference that men and women should carry out their researches and promote human development. The Pope’s posture, certainly, was directly contrary to the philosophy of humanism, which by 1968 had subtly permeated all of society and even infiltrated to an extraordinary degree the theological schools of the Church, religious denominations and some national hierarchies.
The first Humanist Manifesto was written in 1933. The second was promulgated in 1973. Humanists are Utopians. Here are some extracts from their Manifesto: “Traditional moral codes and newer irrational cults both fail to meet the pressing needs of today and tomorrow. False ‘Theologies of hope’ and messianic ideologies, substituting new dogmas for old, cannot cope with existing world realities. They separate rather than unite people….Humanism can give personal meaning to life../.We affirm a set of common principles that can serve as a basis for united action…positive principles relevant to the present human condition. They are a design for a secular society on a planetary scale…We believe that traditional dogmatic authoritarian religions that place revelation, God or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to human species….We find insufficient evidence for belief in the supernatural; it is either meaningless or irrelevant to the question of the survival and fulfilment of the human race. As non-theists we begin with humans, not god, nature not deity…We reject those features of traditional religious morality that deny humans a free appreciation of their own potentialities and responsibilities…We can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what they are or will become. There is no credible evidence that life survives the death of the body. We strive for the good here and now….The right to birth control, abortion and divorce should be recognised. While we do not approve of exploitative, denigrating forms of sexual expression, neither do we wish to prohibit, by law or social sanction, sexual behaviour between consenting adults…. It also includes recognition of an individual’s right to die with dignity, euthanasia and the right to suicide. We deplore the division of humankind on nationalistic grounds. We have reached a turning point in human history where the best option is to transcend the limits of national sovereignty and to move towards the building of a world community in which all sections of human life can participate. Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and a world order based on transnational federal government…We thus reaffirm a commitment to the building of a world community, at the same time recognising that this commits us to some hard choices…In closing: We cannot wait for a reconciliation of competing political or economic systems to solve its problems….We urge that parochial loyalties and inflexible moral and religious ideologies be transcended….At the present juncture of history, commitment to all humankind is the highest commitment of which we are capable; it transcends the narrow allegiances of church, state, party, class or race in moving toward a wider vision of human potentiality. What more daring a goal for humankind than for each person to become in ideal as well as in practice, a citizen of a world community.
We should note that Modernism is another side of the coin of Humanism and that Pope St. Pius X vigorously and roundly condemned Modernism in his Encyclical letter titled Pascendi Dominici Gregis. He says that Modernism is the Mother of all heresies.
To be contd
_______________________Patrick Chukwukere 08187160379, 08154696765, 08033775551
The Data of Forgiveness
The most important ingredient in today’s media economy is data. The amount of data available determines how much and how long we can work or play on the internet. Currently, many of the service providers offer unlimited data plans but we know that those “unlimited” plans are not always unlimited. Sometimes, your download speed can get slowed down when you cross a certain point. Today, however, Jesus gives us the divine model of an unlimited plan. It is the unlimited bundle of compassion and forgiveness which never gets slowed downed shut down for maintenance. The theme for this week is that we must learn to forgive without limits no matter the injury committed against us.
In Matthew’s Gospel, today’s teaching on unlimited forgiveness comes after Jesus had told his disciples the parable of the wandering sheep, so it is plausible that some would have wondered among themselves how many times a good shepherd should go after the same sheep if it keeps wandering away. In those days, people believed that forgiveness was limited to three times only – a fourth transgression was not to be forgiven. So, by asking Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, Peter was probably aiming to increase the limit to seven times. And Jesus makes it clear that we are to forgive others, “not seven times but seventy-seven times” (Matt. 18:22).That means we must dispense an unlimited data bundle of mercy.
In Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of a debt we could never pay. Sin is an offence against God and a direct rebellion against his authority and creation. The debt of 10,000 talents mentioned in today’s parable symbolizes the magnitude of the offence that sin causes in God’s eyes, but he is always willing to forgive without limits. However, we can easily cut ourselves off from God’s river of mercy when we refuse to forgive others. We end up restraining God’s mercy and putting ourselves under strict justice. To unfold his mercy without compromising his justice, God leaves each person free to choose between the two. If we insist on strict justice when we are offended, we bring God’s strict justice upon ourselves. But if we offer an unlimited bundle of mercy to others, we draw God’s unlimited data of forgiveness upon ourselves.
The secret to forming a forgiving heart lies in recognizing the evil of our sin and the immensity of God’s goodness in forgiving us. Until we see the ugliness of our ingratitude and selfishness, we will never appreciate the generosity of God’s forgiveness. Let us examine ourselves now to see how much forgiveness we are giving. Is there someone we still cannot forgive even after they have expressed sorrow for their actions? Have we judged someone too harshly because of something they said or did that we did not particularly like? How many times have we failed to help somebody because we are still dwelling on an injury that we suffered many years ago? How many times have we treated someone differently based on preconceived notions or stereotypes? These are some of the factors that shackle us like chains and that disrupt the unlimited data of divine grace in our lives. When we close ourselves off to people or dismiss them based on our preconceptions, mistaken judgments, and prejudices, not only do we make them suffer, we suffer as well.
But it does not have to be that way. Jesus came to free us from and the burden of sin and unhappiness. Forgiveness is like mercury, which runs away when it is held tightly in the hand but is preserved by keeping the palm open. When we lose forgiveness, we lose the ability to give and to receive love because love is the foundation of forgiveness. And since God is the foundation of love, whoever refuses to forgive automatically rejects the love of God. This is the essence of today’s parable and it is highlighted by the contrast between what was owed by each man. The wicked slave owed his master some 10000 talents. In gold terms, that is 350 tons and at today’s price, he owed his master USD21.8 billion. This was way more than King Solomon made in a year which was 666 talents of gold or USD1.45 billion in today’s value (cf. I Kings 10:14). So, this unforgiving servant owed his master what no individual could never payback. In contrast, his fellow servant owed him the equivalent of one talent of gold or USD2.1 million; so a man who was forgiven $21.8b could not let go of $2.1m, and his wickedness landed him in the hands of torturers.
Dear friends, forgiveness is an act of compassion which is expressed in the free choice to pardon one another’s shortcomings every day, and to also pardon ourselves for own mistakes Forgiveness transcends the fear of being wounded again; it is a deliberate act in imitation of the redemptive work of Jesus, the advocacy of the Holy Spirit, and the loving kindness of the Father. The whole point of today’s parable is that our Father in heaven will do the same to anyone who refuses to forgive others. Whoever refuses to forgive is doomed to a life of bitterness, and as the ugly trend continues, the person ends up building invisible walls of resentment around themselves, thereby blocking off not just one’s relationships with other people but with God as well. Forgiveness is not just an emotional expression or a sense of righteousness; it means being merciful not only when there is an explanation or apology, or a promise of amendment from the offender, but even when the offence is deliberate, and the offender is adamant. Forgiveness is a precious gift of grace, which does not depend on the worthiness of the receiver. Forgiveness is what we called to do, and the Lord’s grace is sufficient for us in that regard. Amen.
Imo Deputy Governor’s giant strides towards revitalizing agriculture
By Joy Opara
The increasing cost of Agricultural products in Imo State in recent times has continued to be a major source of concern to the citizens of the state.
A critical appraisal of the development of Agriculture in this state reveals that successive governments had neglected this major sector of the economy, over three decades now, and this has adversely affected the revenue of government.
In line with the vision of the “shared prosperity” government of the Hope Uzodinma administration, the revolution of agriculture is among its cardinal programmes for which a high powered committee (on agricultural master plan for Imo State) has been set up.
For the purpose of resuscitating all moribund agricultural industries and facilities in the state, it is not surprising that this committee is headed by a world class Professor of Agriculture and Deputy Governor of Imo State, Prof. Placid Njoku.
The need to diversify the economy cannot be over-emphasized. It is a well known fact that there is no better and more sustainable means of diversifying the economy than through agriculture. It would be recalled that after the inauguration of his committee, the deputy governor went into action, first by visiting all moribund agricultural facilities in the state, which included Adapalm in Ohaji/ Egbema LGA, Avutu Poultry farm in Avutu, Obowo LGA, Songhai farms, Okigwe road, Owerri, ADP farms in Nekede, Owerri West. Others are Acharaubo farms in Emekuku, Owerri North, Imo Rubber Plantation in Obiti, Ohaji/ Egbema, amongst others.
Prof. Njoku in one of his speeches during the tour described agriculture as the economic base of most countries of the world. Considering the dwindling oil revenue, he said it should be a source of worry to people of good conscience that the vision of our founding fathers to generate revenue, food security, economic advancement, industrialization, employment and eradication of poverty was destroyed by successive governments.
The Deputy Governor, who not only is acknowledged as one of the greatest professors of Animal Science, a renowned Agriculturist and former Vice Chancellor of a leading University of Agriculture, the Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike, made it clear that the present government led by Governor Hope Uzodinma is desirous to return agriculture to its former glory.
The Ikeduru-born technocrat and farmer per-excellence said that the 3R Mantra of this administration namely: Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery is a base for making the dream of Imo State as the food basket of the nation come true.
Noting that government is a continuum, the deputy governor promised that his committee will build upon what is already on ground by rehabilitating the ones that could be rehabilitated and bringing in new facilities where necessary to ensure that the passion of the governor towards agricultural revival is achieved.
Meanwhile, in most of the establishments visited by the committee, it was discovered that indigenes of the communities had badly encroached into the lands and converted them to personal use. Investigations by the committee revealed that agents of some past governments in the state connived with the communities to make it possible, for their personal aggrandizement.
The deputy governor, whose humility has become legendary pledged his total support to the Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma whom he described as God sent to right all that were done wrong by the previous administrations in the state. He called on all to give this administration the needed support to rewrite the history of Imo State in gold, especially the agricultural sector.
Child Abuse: A case of betrayal of reciprocal trust
By Christian Uzoukwu
Some years ago, while as a kid, I fell out with my father due to an occasion of sheer disobedience and on that very day, I was given no food and was ultimately battered by hunger. Child abuse includes both acts of commission and omission on the part of parents, guardians as well as care-givers.
These acts have led to a lot of actual and threatened harm meted out on countless number of children. In 2014, the WHO made an estimate of 41,000 children (under the age of 15) that are victims of homicide and other related offences. This estimate, as expounded by this world body is grossly below the real figures due to the views of the society in relation to corporal punishment experienced by children. Girls are always most vulnerable to different forms of child abuse during unrests and in war-thorn territories.
Cases of child abuse can be established in some deadly human vices such as child trafficking, child labour, forced adoption as seen in the one-child policy prevalent in China. In the Asian country, women, by law are only allowed to have one child. Local governments would sometimes allow the woman to give birth and then they would take the baby away stating the mother violated the one child policy. Child traffickers, often paid by the government, would sell the children to orphanages that would arrange international adoptions worth tens of thousands of dollars, turning a profit for the government.
Other striking examples of child abuse are the various forms of violence against the girl-child which involves infanticide, sex-selective abortions, female genital mutilations (FGM), sexual initiation of virgins in some African cultures, breast ironing in some parts of Cameroon – involving the vicious use of hot stones and other tools to flatten the breast tissue of girls who have attained the age of puberty. As if those were not enough, female students are also subject to maltreatments in countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is not to talk of recurring kidnapp of female students in some parts of Nigeria, as we saw in the case of Dapchi and Chibok schoolgirls.
Based on simple analysis, child abuse can be defined as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power”.
This definition by WHO also falls in line with the definition propounded by the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which says that child abuse are acts of commission. This commission includes “words or overt actions that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm to a child”, and acts of omission (neglect), meaning “the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm.
In Nigeria, most cases of child abuse have become cumbersome due to the fact that these acts of abuses are regarded as mere punishments to unruly young ones and by so doing, should be justified and doesn’t call for any further discussion and/or scrutiny. According to various statistical studies and researches, child abuse is a vast societal cankerworm and has four profound tentacles viz:
Physical Abuse: this involves undue hitting, beating, kicking, shaking, biting, burning, strangling, insertion of pepper into the eyes and pubic regions of children, maltreatments from house-help(s) and seniors at boarding/day schools, suffocating and forcing children to live in unwholesome conditions.
Sexual Abuse also includes persuading a minor into acts of sexual intercourse, exposure of the child’s private parts, production of child-related pornographic contents and actual sexual contacts with children.
Psychological Abuse of children can be seen in cases of excessive scolding, lack of proper attention that children should be receiving from their parents and guardians, destructive criticisms and destruction of a child’s personality.
Neglect of children can also lead to children dropping out of schools, begging/stealing for food and money, lack of proper medical care for minors and realities of children looking like ragamuffins.
Consequently, the causes of child abuse can be judiciously related to sex, age, personal history, societal norms, economic challenges, lack of Rights’ Protection Agencies, parents battling with traits of alcoholism and family size. These causative agents of child abuse can bring untold effects upon the society at large and these effects can be emotional, physical and psychological as the case may be, giving rise to individuals with dissociative lifestyles.
Furthermore, the treatment of individuals who have been malformed with respect to the abuses they experienced abinitio, can be a long process because it involves behavioral therapy and other forms of neoteric therapies. Treatments of psyche-related problems are not just a one-day process due to the long-lasting effects of abuses on various conscious mental activities. It is also noteworthy to point out that, prevention is always better than cure and holding fast to this true reality, entails that agencies who have the responsibility of protecting the rights of children must continue to do the needful which requires proper oversights of parent-child relationships.
To conclude this piece therefore, we must agree that untold hardships have been a great challenge for children especially in Africa and some parts of Asia. Children with long histories of abuses turn out to become societal misfits. To this end we encourage that: Children should be given a free platform to express themselves on many topical issues and issues relating to their existence.
Children should also be allowed to freely ask questions on any issue, no matter, how weird it seems to be.
Governments should make regulations outlawing societal norms and values that might amount to child abuses.
Corporal punishments by parents, guardians and care-givers should be discouraged at all levels, thereby making parents/guardians/care-givers who seem to be incorrigible, to face the full weight of justice enshrined in the law of the land.
Education system (both conventional and unconventional) in Nigeria should be able to train up young ones into becoming critical, analytical and evaluative individuals with a view of defending the vulnerable.
And again, since children are said to be leaders of tomorrow, it is pertinent to note that to secure their future, their present existence must be cherished and protected.
Christian Chimemerem Uzoukwu
08100029867 / 09025760804
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